01 Aug Where’s the value in league tables?
Do they give parents a false sense of security about their child’s future success?
What is the real value of league table rankings? What impact does attending a highly ranked school have on your child’s chances at future success? Eton, St Paul’s and more recently Wellington College have decided not to submit exam results for national rankings, so are league tables on the way out?
Alastair McCall has compiled or edited The Sunday Times Schools Guide, Parent Power, since 1999. The guide is one of the most popular features of The Sunday Times’ digital offering and is accessed by readers throughout the year. Next week, the guide will return as a standalone print magazine also this year, reflecting the continuing demand from parents for clear information about schools. The unique, interactive guide – searchable by school name, town, post code and local authority – chronicles the academic performance of the country’s leading 1,200 secondary schools, ranked by their most recent public examination results. Primary and prep schools are ranked by their performance in the preceding year’s SATs outcomes. Alastair, who also edits The Sunday Times Good University Guide and the paper’s annual Rich List, has written about education from his first days working as journalist on The Journal in Newcastle-upon-Tyne more than 30 years ago. He has previously worked for The Daily Telegraph and was news editor of the Daily Express before joining The Sunday Times in 1998.
Dr Niall Hamilton began working at Marlborough College in 1985 after completing a PhD in the history of school architecture. He has worked in the History, Art History, Art and Design departments at the College and he ran a boarding house for nine years. During his ten years as the College’s Senior Admissions tutor he has made links with schools throughout the UK and the international world: each year Marlborough admits pupils from well over 100 different schools. He is the UK co-ordinator of the World Leading Schools Association, which forges links between American universities and schools in the UK and Chinese Schools and schools in the UK and China. He travels extensively with the Independent Schools Show but most of his time is spent working with UK preparatory schools. Visiting these institutions and indeed other senior schools fuels his enthusiasm for the extraordinary architectural heritage that these schools help to maintain.